Thu, 20 October 2011
Published Oct 20, 2011
Fire up your Kindle! In this episode I'm going to introduce you to the author or a riveting book full of secrets, family history, and discoveries!
GEM: Interview with Steve Luxenberg, author of Annie's Ghosts
We’re going to mix things up a bit in this episode, and I want to start off with an email I received recently from Jay in New York who writes:
“I have been catching up with all of your family history podcasts. Over the years I have collected a wealth of information on the family. Some good, some not-so-good, some out in-the-open, some hidden.
How do you deal with revealing "forgotten" items about family members to other family members? I had an uncle who had a marriage at a very young age, and would like to have forgotten about it. My mother told me about it. I put it on the tree. While showing off the fruits of my labor to his family this "forgotten" marriage was revealed with not happy responses.
The things we find in our tree may not always be "good", How does a person deal with that? and revealing it to others?”
This is a great questions, and it’s sort of a cooincidence that this episode’s publish date coincides with Family history Month and Halloween because we’re going to explore ghosts and skeletons in the closet.
But actually there’s nothing really spooky here, but rather these are things that can be found in many family. Secrets, small and large. Skeletons in the closet that are often closely guarded by others in our family.
It’s a tricky business navigating your way through the shakier branches of the family tree, so I’ve invited a special guest to the show who has done an incredible job of climbing those branches in his own family.
Steve Luxenberg is a Washington Post associate editor and award-winning author. In his 25 years at The Post, he has headed the newspaper’s investigative staff and its Sunday section of commentary and opinion. Steve is going to join me for the full episode to talk about investigating and dealing with family secrets as he did in his book Annie’s Ghost. It’s a riveting tale that kept me feverishly tapping the “Next Page” key on my kindle.
Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret is about a family secret that Steve stumbled upon in the late 1990s. His mother, who had always claimed to be an only child, had a sister, Annie. And while that was a big surprise all by itself, it was just the beginning of a series of secrets and revelations that Steve unearthed by tapping into his long career as an investigative journalist, and employing newly found genealogy techniques and strategies.
In this interview we talk about being aware of what’s missing in records and stories, rather than just focusing on what is on the page. For those of you who are Premium Members this discussion is a great follow up to Premium Episode #77 where we talked about being more keenly aware during our research.
Steve’s also going to share he thoughts on storytelling, which he truly masters in this book.
And then we get into some of the genealogical techniques he used. How to avoid Tainting Memories in Interviews, and how to balance the give and take as well as win trust with the person you are interviewing. And speaking of trust Steve describes how he was able to be incredibly successful in obtaining sensitive documents and getting cooperation from various government agencies and other repositories.
He’s also going to tell us about a little known legal maneuver that he made that really made the difference for him in obtaining some of the most closely held documents and how you can use it too!
And finally he’ll share his personal feelings about what it was like to get a add a new member to his family, his long lost Aunt Annie.
Dillingham Commission's report on immigration, in digitized form, courtesy of the Stanford U. library. Vol. 4 describes immigration conditions in Europe (much of it focusing on Italy, if I remember correctly), and Vol 37 examines voyage conditions, focusing on steerage.
Quotes from Annie’s Ghosts:
“What I didn’t expect, as the week wore on, was that the family would expand to take in a new member. But that’s what happened. As people dipped in and out of the records, as the debates flew about what we knew and what we didn’t and whether we should be digging around in the past, Annie gradually became a part of the family consciousness. She was no longer just a name on a hospital record. She was no longer just a secret.”
“I stopped thinking like a son and started thinking like a journalist.”
“I offer to send her the letters; it’s an unexpected present for her, and I’m glad to be able to make the offer, because it allows me to give as well as take, something reporters can’t often do. It’s also a good way to win trust.”
“I want to make sure that if she knows about Annie, she tells me before I tell her, so that I capture her spontaneious memory first.”
Stay tune - Episode 121 wil feature part 2 of this interview. App users: check out the Behind the Scenes Steve and Lisa video!
Wed, 5 October 2011
Published Oct 5, 2011
When you were little did you play in card table tents or forts? I sure did. When I was wandering around the house complaining of being bored on a rainy day, my mom would pull out the old folding table used for card games, throw an old blanket over it, pull out some old pots and pans and hand them to me and tell me to go play house. Something magical seemed to happen when I crawled under the fabric walls. My imagination would let loose and I could happily play for hours. So I’ve decided to create a special card table house / fort for my grandson Davy.
Davy loves the old TV show "Blue’s Clues" which was hugely popular here in the U.S. when my kids were little. Nowadays the only place I seem to be able to find it is on Netflix and YouTube. Blue is a dog and she lives in an adorable little yellow house with a red roof with her friend Steve who follows her clues.
Last week I headed to the fabric store with my trusty iPad full of photos I found online of the inside and outside of the Blue’s Clues house, and I spent two hours up and down the aisles looking for the closest matching fabrics I could find.
Each side of the house is double sided – the outside fabric is the bright yellow and the inside is one that looks like the wall paper in blue’s house. And of course it will have the windows and curtains, and flowers and lizards and frogs on the outside and I even found a little unfinished wooden mailbox at the fabric store that will be transformed into the purple mailbox outside Blue’s house. If Davy has half the fun playing in his Blue’s Clues house as I am having making it then it will be a big success!
In addition to creating The “Blue’s Clues fort” for Davy’s birthday which is in December, I also still need to come up with Christmas present for the family. Last year I did calendars for everyone in the Cooke family that sported images for events related to each month.
This year I’m thinking about framing charts. It’s amazing I haven’t gotten around to this already, but I think it’s about time. My friend Janet Hovorka just happens to own the company Family ChartMasters and she’s going to be here in a day or two for the Family History Expo being held in my area (Northern California) this weekend. So I will be picking her brain and spending a good deal of time on their website. She told me that I have there are loads of new styles of charts to choose from.
If you’re looking for Christmas present ideas for the family this year, why not consider a family tree chart? Hopefully you’ve got your genealogy data in a database so you can just export your gedcom and make it gorgeous for a gift they can enjoy for years to come.
If you decide you’d like to check out Family ChartMasters– which of course I highly recommend – I’d really appreciate it if you would click the image above to visit their website because when you do you are also supporting this podcast and making it possible for me to keep the free podcast episodes coming. So thank you very much!
And by the way, many of you have asked what happened to our Amazon links on the website which were another way that you were helping to support the podcast. Well, Amazon dropped their California affiliate producers because of some recent tax law changes. But I just got an email saying they are reversing that. This is awesome news because I just can’t get through all my Christmas shopping without Amazon, and I know that many of you shop online too. So I’m going to get that reinstated asap – keep an eye out for the Amazon links on the homepage at genealogygems.com and I will also return it to the toolbar. (UPDATE: The Genealogy Gems Toolbar has been discontinued) Thanks for being patient and being such incredible supporters of this little old podcast!
Entertainment Weekly website is reporting that Marisa Tomei has just been added to the roster of celebrities who will be featured on the new season of Who Do You Think You Are? here in the US. Joining here are Martin Sheen and actor Blair Underwood.
FamilySearch has added records for
China, Hungary, Mexico and U.S. Records Include Illinois, Maryland, New York and Washington.
Ancestry.com announced the release of the 1930 Mexico National Census and it’s free to the public.
Ancestry.uk also recently added some new records. Two million railway employment records from the UK National Archives are now available on the site.
Convict records available for free online for Australia
The free Convict Records website at http://www.convictrecords.com.au is based around the British convict transportation register compiled by the State Library of Queensland - it includes about three-quarters of the 160,000 convicts transported to Australia between 1787 and 1867.
Database of Virginia Slave Names
The RVA NEWS is reporting that the Virginia Historical Society has launched an online and searchable database called “Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names.” It’s a free service featuring a sizable portion of the over 8 million records in VHS archives.
RootsMagic just released the long awaited Personal Historian 2. This is their software that helps you write the story of your life and of other individuals. If you’d like to learn more about the new Personal Historian 2 you can watch a recording of their recent free webinar at
For a limited time only, RootsMagic is offering a special introductory offer for Personal Historian 2. Through October 31, 2011, Personal Historian 2 is available for a special introductory price of only $19.95, saving $10 off of the regular price. The discount is available only on the Personal Historian website at http://www.personalhistorian.com or by calling 1-800-766-8762.
RootsTech conference, RootsTech 2012 which will be held February 2 - 4, 2012 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City Utah.
The Convention Center is a very easy walking distance from the Family History Library so you can really make a time of it. I’ll be there again this year, I’ve been booked to give three presentations and I’ll be once again recording some videos as well. It’s going to be a ton of fun,
Take advantage of the early bird special! It’s $129 for the 3 day event instead of the regular $189 so it’s a nice discount, but it ends November 30, 2011.
There is also a $35 student rate (you just have to show a current student ID at admission) and there are Single day passes are available.
New Aussie Genealogy Podcast
There is a new family history podcast focused on Australian Genealogy called Genies Down Under.
A while back Maria Northcote, herself a Genie Down Under, wrote and asked me my thoughts on podcasting and said she was thinking about putting a show together, and I’m very happy to say that she has done it. She has launched a brand new website called Genies Down Under and she wrote me again to tell me all about it and she writes:
“I really must say thanks for you for your inspiration to podcast in general, to blog and to get deeper into family history – one of my big passions in life. I dated the first podcast with a 1 October date as I didn’t expect the launch to become live so soon!”
You can subscribe to Genies Down Under through iTunes.
Visit the Genies Down Under Website
The background music for this segment is called “Bethena” and is available on the fantastic CD by Frederick Hodges called Picnics. Visit http://www.frederickhodges.com
Grandparent Terms of Endearment
I think I struck a chord with so many of you out there when I told you in the last episode who I’m hanging in there waiting for my little grandson Davy to call me Grandma. My email box was over flowing with the most wonderful stories of the terms of endearment you use in your family for grandmothers and grandfathers.
Maria in Australia: In her family theydistinguish between her mother’s parents and her father’s parents by using their married surnames: Grandma Northcote or Grandfather Walters.
Elizabeth in Needham, Massachusetts:
“While we've used Grandmother and Grandfather in my family, my uncle was known as "Grand Sir" to his grandchildren. (My aunt is known as Grandmother.) I really must find out how that name evolved and write down the story.
In my husband's Jewish family, grandparents are Bubbie (for grandmother) and Pop-pop or Zaydee (for grandfather), though when Bubbie's mother was still living, she was Bub-bub to her great-grandchildren, to differentiate her from Bubbie.”
Suzanne in Panama City, FL:
“…my husband(‘s family) was much more creative. Two of his grandmothers were named after what kind of road they lived on: one was "Bumpy Road Granny" the other was "Smooth Road Granny". He had another grandmother called "Chicken Granny" because she had chickens running around her yard. And a fourth grandmother was called "Big Ole Granny". She was called that not because of her size but because she was actually the Great-grand mother.
Liz posted on my Facebook page:
“When my daughter was learning to talk, she called my mother Daygar, my sister Elaine was E.T. and then became Aunty and my father was Pa. She had her own language! She called marshmallows yesyellows, O'Henry Bars were YoHomy Bars and gingerbread men were Bundermen. She was very inventive!”
Laurie in Calif. writes:
“(This photo) was taken on the front porch of my great grandparents' home in Reeseville, Wisconsin c. 1928. The names were written right on the bottom of the picture, thankfully, and the writer referred to Lena (my great aunt) first as "Bammy" before crossing it out. I always appreciate it when someone writes names on photos, but this one is more appreciated as it reveals the quirky nickname "Bammy" for Grandma. Gotta love it.
I just received my "Ultimate Google for Genealogists" Collection from Family Tree Magazine. I can't wait to delve into it & get my "Lisa fix" between podcasts! When my maternal grandparents were alive, they affectionately called each other "Pappy" for some reason. Apparently when I was a toddler, I heard that as "Happy" & that's what my sisters & I called my grandmother for the rest of her life. It was a well-fitting name, too, because she always was happy!
Teri in Iowa writes:
My oldest daughter called her grandmothers "Little Grandma" and "Big Grandma" because my mother lived with her mother so that she could remain in her own home! Memories!
“I have 3 grandchildren, girl twins, Ryan and Riley who are my son's children and a 2 year old boy, my daughter's son. When the twins were about 16 or 17 months old, Ryan couldn't say the "grr" sound of "Grandma and Grandpa" so she came up with the name "Mo-ma" and when I pointed to my husband and asked "What is his name?". She quickly replied "Mo-pa". Her twin Riley, quickly picked up the name and started to call us "Mo-ma" and "Mo-pa". 3 years later when my grandson arrived he fell into step with his cousins, Ryan and Riley, and has started to call us "Mo-ma" and "Mo-pa". These grandchildren have 3 sets of grandparents: me and my husband; my ex-husband and his wife and my daughter in law's mother and father, who are called "Nanny" and "Pop Pop".
“My parents were named Bumpa and Nini. Bumpa started with the first born grandchild being unable to pronounce Grandpa and somehow it came out as Bumpa and stuck. Nini because my mom didn't want to be called grandma :) They ultimately had 17 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren before their passings in 2007. I'm Noni to my 7 grandchildren but dad is just plain ol' grandpa. Thanks for all the informative podcasts-love listening to them on my walks with my two Jack Russells, Leroy and Mabel!”
And then there was this terrific message from JT:
“When our son Miles was just starting to talk, he had trouble with the usual consonants so "Grandma" just wouldn't come out no matter how hard he tried. One day when my mother-in-law stopped by he was so excited to see her he just stood in the center of the room, his arms held out as he tried to call her.
You could see in his face how hard he was trying. He rose up on his toes, his hands opened wide and he almost began shaking as the word traveled up his body and burst our his mouth.... "HEM-MIE!"
Not even close to "Grandma", but it seemed to work for him - seemingly satisfied, that's what he called her from that day on. Little sister Lily has adopted it as well and my mother-in-law couldn't be happier that she has what must be a completely unique name from her grandkids.
I enjoy your podcasts and always learn something new - thanks so much!”
But I have to say, I think my favorite email came from Tim in San Jose CA who writes:
“I recently listened to your podcast which included your discussion of names given to grandparents. I thought I would share some of the names we used for our grandparents growing up.
When I was born, I had 4 living grandparents, and 5 great-grandparents, who were all direct ancestors -- not from second marriages. During my growing-up years, they all lived within 5 miles of my family and we saw them often. So, it was a challenge to uniquely identify each grandparent.
There were the usual names, such as Grandma and Grandpa McBride for one set of grandparents, and Grandma and Grandpa LaMonte for a set of great-grandparents. Another set of great grandparents were Granny and Louie. Why we called him by his first name, I don't know -- all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren called him my his first name. I guess "granny" comes from my Ozark heritage.
But there were also a couple unusual names. If someone was just listening to my sister, cousins and me talk, they would hear something like Grandma In-da-green, or Grandma and Grandpa In-da-ellow. When my older sister was quite young (she was the oldest of all the cousins on that side of the family), she identified one of our great-grandmothers as Grandma In The Green House (which, over time, was shortened to Grandma In The Green) and one set of grandparents as Grandma and Grandpa In The Yellow House (which became Grandma and Grandpa In The Yellow).
I have not previously included these names in my genealogy data base. But, I have now added these names and stories behind them since I know we used these terms in family letters. It would be good to have notes how these names came about for when future generations are reading these letters so they know who we are talking about.
Thanks for the podcast. I enjoy listening to each one as soon as it come out!”
I think that is priceless! Tim really got the message I was hoping to send in bringing this topic up. This is part of your heritage. Take a few moments and get these wonderful terms of endearment and their origins into your family history records and database. You’ll be glad you did!
I’m sending out a 1 year premium membership to JT for recording his terrific story, and also to Tim for his Green House and Yellow House Grandparent story. Simply wonderful!
And thanks to all of you who took the time to write in. Thanks for being part of this podcast episode. It’s most fun when it truly is a conversation!
Genealogy Gems Premium Membership
Clíona from Ireland wrote in with a questions about Premium Membership
She writes: “I’ve been listening to some of your podcasts and I’m interested in signing up to see the Premium Videos. Would my subscription give me access to previous Premium Videos such as those mentioned in your podcasts, or just the future ones? Thanks and well done on some very good podcasts.”
Well Cliona, thank so much, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the free podcast! When you become a Premium Member, you get:
. The 6 most recent Premium Podcast episodes
. The Google Earth for Genealogy video series (7 videos)
. The Google: A Goldmine of Genealogy Gems video series (13 videos)
. The 2 part Hard Drive Organization video series
As each new premium podcast episode is released the oldest drops off. For now, all of the videos listed above remain - when I'm going to change some out I provide advance warning. So as you can see there's lot of video content waiting
for you :-)
Interview with Michael Katchen, Director of Business Development at http://1000memories.com/
Here’s one more email from a listener. Kate in Ann Arbor Michigan took the time to write in and just make my day. She says:
“Thanks for the updates to your podcast. Your app is wonderful. Each day I find new ways to enjoy your presentations. Now I can share your podcast by text. I can now easily share your podcast with my tech challenged friends. Your discussion with "ole Myrt about quilting will be sent to my sister-in-law who is part of a large quilt group inLancaster Virginia. You inspire me with both genealogical info and your tech info. Last week I was at an Apple store. The young geek saw my ipod touch and asked me my favorite app. Of course your app was the first mentioned. I think he was impressed. We shared info on "DropBox". I learned about that from you.”
Sat, 17 September 2011
Published Sept 17, 2011
Everyone has a special name for grandparents in their family. In ours we have Nanna, Grandma, and even Pat-Pat. I look forward to the day my grandson Davy calls me Grandma. While I wait, tell me the unusual terms of endearment used in your family for grandparents. Email or leave a voice mail and be included on the show: (925) 272-4021
Listen to the episode:
Here's my Grandson Davy checking out tractors at the state fair with his Bumpa (AKA Superman / Indiana Jones)
FamilySearch has added millions of new records of both Confederate and Union soldiers who served in the American Civil War. Also now available for viewing are newly added notarial records from Canada, church records and civil registrations from Mexico, and records from England. www.familysearch.org
From the UK National Archives
The UK National Archives announced that findmypast.co.uk has just released 1 million Merchant Navy seamen records, dating from 1918 to 1941.
Useful guides at the UK National Archives website to help with your research into merchant seamen.
My Ancestor was a Merchant Seaman is available from their bookshop.
To learn more about apprenticeship records, check out the TNA Research Guide to Apprenticeship Records
Australian military records
You can now access the records of Australian soldiers who fought in the Great War free at the National Archives of Australia website.
If your relative was an Australian soldier, the Office of Australian War Graves at the Australian Government Department of Veteran’s Affairs website offers free photographs of Australian solder’s graves.
Our wonderful sponsor RootsMagic is offering 2 new webinars absolutely free.
What's New in Personal Historian 2
Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 6pm Mountain time, 90 minutes
Creating a Shareable CD with RootsMagic
Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 5pm MDT, 60 minutes.
If the webinars don’t fit your schedule they will be posting a recording of the class on their website at www.rootsmagic.com/webinar that you can watch at your convenience absolutely free! And it stays free – it doesn’t disappear in a month. I love that about the RootsMagic webinars!
Lisa’s Upcoming Speaking Engagements
9/25/11 - Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, CA
10/7 & 8/11 - Northern California Family History Expo, San Mateo, CA
10/21/11 - Waterloo Iowa Public Library Webinar
10/22/11 - Webinar for the Hayden Idaho Family History Center Fall Family History Seminar
10/29/11 - Victoria Genealogical Society Seminar, Victoria, British Columbia
11/11 & 12/11 - Georgia Family History Expo, Duluth, GA
Feb 2 – 4, 2012 – RootsTech, Salt Lake City, UT
As you’ll remember I had an interesting conversation with DearMYRTLE in Episode 117 about the abbreviation FL that showed up in podcast listener Dot’s family history research. She was wondering what it stood for, and DearMYRTLE was intrigued as well so she did a bit of investigation on it which we discussed in the show. Well several of you wrote in with your thoughts on the subject:
“My first thought was that the abbreviation would stand for "found living" and it sort of makes sense based on the discussion. Finding this abbreviation in research could provide an important clue to narrow down when and where a person lived.”
And Dot chimed in with:
“Rob and I do however think there is a time when it is handy for genealogists to use it. If you don’t have birth and death dates, we think that instead of having nothing, fl. gives you dates as a rough guide as to when the ancestor lived and you can always extend the dates once more information is found.”
Dave wrote in with a different take:
“It does refer to someone’s “productive” time, but typically it refers the time that someone is known to have practiced their profession. Usually, it is used when no biographical information exists…In genealogy, it is less likely that this kind of sourcing is useful, since the person is tied, biologically, to a time and place. We know the age ranges for life events, so we can guess better. That said, it is very useful to be able to interpret information of this kind.”
It’s always nice to hear when the gems I talk about here on the show sparkle in your own research. Tina wrote in recently to share not one but two examples:
“I just wanted to thank you for putting the idea into my head that Paula Sassi might be able to contribute something to my knowledge about a relative… I gave her a bit of background to the handwriting I submitted and she came back with insights and suggestions in areas that I hadn't mentioned, but nonetheless knew or suspected - all astonishingly accurate. I am just so grateful to her - and to you!”
“And can I give you another thank you? This is an old one, but still the most useful tip I think I have ever had: go back and look at original documents again, and again, and again. Each time I do so, I seem to notice something I had missed the first few times, or now meant more because I had more information. Invaluable. Thank you!”
Thomas On Facebook asked about using children’s sidewalk chalk as a mediaum to read gravestones better.
Lisa says: Tombstone rubbing is a touchy subject and there is no concensus on the matter. Some people are against rubbing any substance on a tombstone because each one reduces the clarity of the stone. Certainly the chalk wouldn't harm it, but the application could. Be careful to check with the local authorities at the cemetery to get permission if you decide to go forward. My preference is to take multiple photograph and manipulate them with an editing program to alter the light, contrast and sharpeness which can often reveal what can't be seen with the naked eye.
Being the Genealogy Google Guru has some challenges. It seems like as soon as I tell you about something Google is doing, or publish a tutorial video or article Google goes and changes everything. Like the Google News Timeline which bit the dust recently. Well all iGoogle hasn’t been immune to that constant change and after some serious hair pulling Pam wrote in asking for help. She says:
“My iGoogle page has changed in the last week. The whole left side is different but I can't remember what was there before.”
The only significant change I see is that "add stuff" link has been removed and now is an "add gadgets" button on the left above the tab names. If you don't see your tabs it's because the are now retractable. There is a little arrow that hides and reveals the tabs column.
GEM: PERSI with Allison Stacy of Family Tree Magazine
As you know in addition to the Genealogy Gems Podcast I also produce and host the monthly Family Tree Magazine Podcast for my friends at Family Tree Magazine. In the September 2011 episode I recorded a segment with Allison Stacy the publisher of Family Tree Magazine about PERSI at Heritage Quest Online.
My guess is that you’ve heard of PERSI but maybe it’s been a long time since you checked it out or maybe you’ve never gotten around to searching this incredible database. It’s been ages for me, so I really enjoy chatting with Allison about it and it really reminded me what a goldmine it is.
GEM: Another Free Transcription Software Program
A big hat tip to podcast listener Phil Rowly who wrote in to share a gem he spotted recently. Phil writes:
“I keep a regular eye on some of the best sites covering freeware and I've recently noticed another piece of transcription software - with the advantage of being free - which is specifically aimed at transcribing data in tabular - rather then free-form - layout. The resulting data is then saved as a csv file, which can be imported into a wide range of standard programs for further analysis &c - eg Excel, Word, databases, etc.”
Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, it was episode #39
GenScriber is a desktop application, designed for transcribing genealogy documents from images of census registers, church/parish records etc. and was designed to be easy to use.
Tue, 6 September 2011
Published Sept 6, 2011
Are you having a Picnic? Problem In Chair Not In Computer!
Google self-driving car crash was caused by human error - says Google
They had a recent failure but Google says it wasn’t the car it was a PICNIC!
See the photos at Jalopnik
Kiera posted on my Facebook wall after the webinar saying
“I listened to your Webinar on Google Tools today. I wanted to hit myself over the head for not having those tips sooner. I've put them to use today, and already, they're helping me immensely! A million thanks!!!!!!!!”
Book Lisa to Speak
If your genealogy society doesn’t have the budget to fly out speakers in person, webinars are a fantastic alternative. Find out more about how to book for to speak to your group.
AppList for Hobbies has finally been released!
We also had some exciting news around here recently. Appadvice.com published their AppList for Hobbies and named the Genealogy Gems Podcast app as a must have for family history.
In other genealogy news, Ancestry made an interesting move recently. They decided to put out a press release about the fact that the images and indexes to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made free to search in the United States when it becomes available in mid-April 2012.
Interestingly it was just before Archives.com made their big announcement that they are going to be addint the entire US Federal Census to their website. I blogged about this at length in an article on my website called Archives.com Makes their Big Move.
It really is going to be interesting to see Archives approach to challenging the Big Fish, and Ancestry’s response to being challenged.
Footnote.com has decided to focus primarily on military records, and they have a new name for it that reflects that. Footenote.com will now be known as Fold3 which comes from the third fold in a traditional military flag folding ceremony.
Ancestry has also explanded their U.S. School Yearbook Collection
I caught by surprise the other day when Ruth replied back to that email and she said: “I owe you a Thank You! I have learned so much about Google in just the first 50 pages! Wow! Do to time constraints, most of my genealogical research is conducted online and Google is certainly my favorite search engine. You book is a fantastic guide to the Google universe! P. S. I've been listening to The Genealogy Gems Podcast for a long time. Also a great help to my research!”
Aisha wrote: “I grew up away from my extended family and my grandparents died before I got to know them. So, genealogy is helping me to connect and learn about my relatives. Thanks for the tips and gems.”
To learn more about vital records check out my Family History: Genealogy Made Easy Podcast series. Episode 3 focuses on the search process and specifically death records.
Maria asked “What should my next research step be? I've been googling his name, as well as searching on Ancestry.com. My MIL may have half-siblings, and a biological father who could still be alive somewhere! I would love to further my research...Any suggestions would be appreciated! I love your podcast!”
In addition to standard genealogical searching methods, focus on unique identifiers about the man. A name of one of the boyfriends siblings? His father's occupation? One of their neighbors? How far he lived from her? Something that can be used to narrow down the right man in the census. When things look the same on the surface, we need to find what is unique about them and follow that lead. Good luck Maria!
Randy in Nebraska wrote in with a question just about everyone faces at some point. He says: "My questiion is: how do you cite information from someone else's work while they have great citations themselves? How much should a person retrace sources when the information is 'published' on the internet or in family histories?”
Published family histories are wonderful finds, and yet they can have errors or omissions. First I would spot check a number of the sources to see if they are verifiable and accurately recorded. Ideally you would verify all of them, but realistically that is difficult to do with lengthy published works. Also published and properly cited family histories are in a different category than a family tree published online, which can be notoriously inaccurate and not properly sourced. It's very easy for errors to get picked up and added to an online family tree.
I would recommend that you read the article Using Published Family Histories from the Mar-Apr 2002 issue of Ancestry magazine, page 46 free on Google Books.
And as for proper citations, the go-to book is Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Ericson in California wrote to tell me that he’s been bit – hard! He writes: “Thank you for all the guidance and inspiration you have given me. In a matter of six months, I've caught-up listening to your Family History podcast, Family Tree Magazine podcast and the Genealogy Gems premium podcast. To date, I have cataloged 265 individual relatives. My parents think I've gone off the deep-end with this bug!
Is there an easier way to understand and remember the degree/removal terminology, such as "first cousin twice removed"? When I reach-out and introduce myself to new relatives, they give me a blank look when I say these terminologies. It's gotten to the point where I would just say "distant relative" or "cousin", which seems overly simplified.”
Check out the Genealogy Relationship Chart
But in reality "distant cousin" makes the point and can be less aggravating for all concerned!
GEM: Should Your Genealogy Research Flourish?
Myrt also gives us the scoop on the Genea-Quilters 1812 Preserve the Pensions Quilt.
Sat, 20 August 2011
Published August 20, 2011
This special episode of the Genealogy Gems Podcast was recorded in front of a live audience at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree held in June 2011 in Burbank, CA. My special guests are Allison Stacy, publisher of Family Tree Magazine, and Paula Sassi, Certified Graphologist.
(left to right: Allison Stacy, Lisa Louise Cooke, Paula Sassi)
Paula analyzed the handwriting of Allison's ancestor Amelia Essel.
She also interpreted the handwriting of Jhe ancestor of our contest winner Heather Wilkinson Rojo. , t
Sat, 6 August 2011
Published August 6, 2011
In this episode you're going to learn the details that go into planning a trip to your ancestor's homeland.
GEM: FTU DISCOUNT Coupon Code gemsFTU
This conferenece is really the first one of it’s kind. No matter where you live you can take part, attend every class if you want to, and all from the comfort of your own home.
It’s going to be an exciting weekend from Friday August 19 to Sunday August 21, of 2011. You’re going to get three full days of unlimited access to watch the 15 pre-recorded video classes. Lisa will be debuting her brand new Common Surname Search Strategies class and hosting a chat on Sunday.
The special coupon code we have just for Genealogy Gems listeners is gemsFTU and that will you get 20% off the registration fee. And in fact you can use it to 20% off ANY of the Family Tree University classes.
GEM: More Online Newspapers
Swedish Genealogical Society of Colorado is going to host the SwedGenTour 2011 September 17, 2011
Genealogy Gems Podcast App Users are getting a special bonus with this episode. Swedish Researcher Yvonne Hendrickson has graciously provided a a terrific pdf file called How to Find Your Swedish Roots.
GEM: Railway Records
Your chance to help bring the 1812 records
New Video Cast on YouTube on UK News
“Would I create a "land" fact in the entry for my great-grandfather, and just describe the land in it? Thanks again for your terrific podcasts. I just started listening to the Family Tree podcasts, and am excited to start using the tips shared in those episodes as well.”
Bruce recommends adding a "Property" fact type (which is one of the fact typesbuilt into RM and which is officially supported in GEDCOM). You can use the date field to show the time period the land was owned, and can use the note to enter any description of the land.
Then he recommends using the various documents as sources for that fact type. When you are adding a new source to RM, you can type "land" into the "Search for source type" field on the "Select Source Type" screen to filter the list of source types down to ones relating to land records.
Kai has a question about image and source citations. "I've always attached source media to events/facts and now I'm wondering whether there's any point in going through and removing every media item from the individual events/facts and instead attaching it to the relevant source. Since sharing events between people is so easy, I haven't seen much point in doing it before now.” Bruce says there probably isn't a compelling reason right now to move existing images from events to sources or citations. There may be in the future, but we would also work to make it easier to do that at that time.
Kai’s second question is “I'm wondering whether you record your negative research (i.e. searched particular resource, nothing found) within RM." Bruce says "RootsMagic allows you to add facts (of any type... birth, marriage, death, etc) and set the "Proof" for that fact to "Disputed" or "Proven false". It then draw that fact on screen with a redline through it.
Second, when entering a source citation, you can enter the "Quality", which follows the BCG standard and allows you to set the "Evidence" to negative. However, that doesn't mean the source is wrong. It means that the source didn't contain the information you expected to find in it.”
And finally Kate wrote in asking for help with migrating from Family Tree Maker to RootsMagic and found a great help guide right on the RootsMagic web site.
GEM: Preparing for a visit to the National Archives
1. National Archives in the UK video series called Quick Animated Guide
2. Do a Google search by file type
3. Check out Lisa’s interviews with Margery Bell of the Family History Centers which are full of great ideas for preparing for a research trip, regardless of whether it is to the National Archives or the Family History Library.
Genealogy has no borders!
British Home children Follow up
During my stay with them in England, Mom's cousin said that she thought that my grandfather Richard Ing had come to Canada as one of the Barnardo Home children, mentioning that she and her husband knew some of the Bernardo family personally. I said that I had never heard of him coming out with Barnardo Homes. Much later, I discovered that she was right about him being one of the British Home Children!
You can read more from Bill about his Ing family at his genealogy blog at blog: http://billbuchanan.blogspot.com
GEM: How to Travel to Your Ancestor's Homeland
Family Tree Tours provides research assistance to genealogy enthusiasts and ancestry trips to German-speaking countries. Whether a group heritage tour, private genealogy tour, or independent heritage trip, owner Kathy Wurth and on-the-ground German expert Matthias Uthoff provide you the opportunity to learn more about your family roots, to connect with family, and to learn about your ancestors before they made their emigration journey. With a passion for both genealogical research and travel, Kathy and Matthias work closely with you to ensure your family research trip is a success.
“No family tree research is complete until you experience the place your family came from,” says Kathy Wurth, owner of Family Tree Tours. “There’s no feeling more exhilarating than walking the streets your ancestors walked. Even if you don’t know your hometown, our European Heritage professionals help you paint the picture of your ancestors’ lives. Our new website helps us make your research come alive.”
Thu, 21 July 2011
Published July 21, 2011
Git yer lasso and git ready for the Genealogy Records Roundup in this episode. Then I’ll show you how to improve your online security, introduce you to family history blogger Becky Jamison, and share my own person story of genealogical serendipity.
Records Round Up
The Library and Archives Canada has announced the launch of an updated version of its finding aid to locate electoral districts in its federal voters' lists collection from 1935 to 1980. This updated version provides for each of the 892 microfilm reels of the collection, the electoral year, the province, the exact name of the electoral district and the page numbers for each microfilm.
You can find it at http://
The Library and Archives Canada also recently announced the release of a new version of the online database Lower Canada Land Petitions (1626-1865).
This version includes digitized images of the actual petitions for all individuals listed in the database. Corrections to entries, including suggestions received from users, have also been integrated into this updated version. You can find the database at .
FamilySearch has added Free Records for 10 Countries. And their U.S. collection additions include records from Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Collections covering several countries were updated. Germany and Mexico church records were the two largest collections added.
You’ll also find 25 million new images of historic records for 16 countries including records for Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Wales AND over 8 million civil registration records for the Netherlands.
The 1930 U.S. Census indexing project is also coming to a completion. They will now start some new U.S. projects that you might want to consider helping out with as a volunteer. They have plans to building a nationwide marriage index. There are several projects already underway, and many new marriage projects are coming.
They have started a Civil War era initiative that will include record collections expanding before and after the Civil War, which should come in very handy.
Archives.com recently announce that there are 17 million new U.S. vital and military records available on Archives.com! These new birth, death, marriage, and military records make up 30 unique collections. Here is a quick summary of the new records:
Military Personnel Records - including personnel records from the Vietnam War and Gulf War eras. They boast nearly 16 million in all, and say that these records cover individuals who served in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and National Guard.
In the Vital Records category they have added Texas Birth, Death, and Marriage Records - dating anywhere from 1800 to 2011 and cover the following counties: Fort Bend, El Paso, Cooke, Montgomery, Tarrant, Burnet, Hood, Denton, and Kaufman. There are 1.4 million new Texas records in total. They have also added Colorado Marriage and Death Records from Delta County, located in the western part of the state. Over nine thousand new records have been added.
South Carolina Marriage Records - a collection of four thousand early South Carolina marriages covers years 1641 to 1799.
Future U.S. Records: 1940 Census
Here in the U.S. we are already talking about records that aren’t due for another year. Yep, we’re talking the 1940 US Population Census Schedules.
It’s still more than 9 months away, but in the time it takes to bring a new descendant into the world the National Archives will be delivering the 1940 US Population Schedules to the public.
And there are a couple of guys who have been on the forefront of this event, none other than Steve Morse and Joel Weintraub. And Joel has been my special guest on a past Premium episode.
Of course we are all chomping at the bit to dig into the 1940 census even though there won’t be an index when it’s first released. However, the guys have put out a press release about what you can do to get ready to search, so let me give you the scoop here:
It says: “It will not be name indexed, so it will be necessary to do an address search in order to find families. Address searching involves knowing the ED (enumeration district) in which the address is located.. The National Archives (NARA) earlier this year indicated they had plans to make available in 2011 the 1940 ED maps of cities and counties, and ED descriptions, but their recent move to consider having a 3rd party host all the images may have appreciably set back this timetable.
The only website that currently has location tools for the 1940 census is the Steve Morse One Step site (http://stevemorse.org). There are several such tools there, and it could be overwhelming to figure out which tool to use when. There is a tutorial that attempts to clarify it (http://stevemorse.org/census/intro.html) and an extensive FAQ (http://stevemorse.org/census/faq.htm).
We are announcing the opening of another educational utility to help people learn about the different 1940 locational search tools on the One Step site, and information about the 1940 census itself. It is in the form of a quiz, and should help many, many genealogists quickly learn how to search an unindexed census by location. The new utility is and is called "How to Access the 1940 Census in One Step". Not only is it informative, we hope it is entertaining.”
1940 Census Training is Now Online
But there’s still another way to prep for the big release, and that is to learn more about the 1940 enumeration process and the national Archives has released four short videos created by the US Census Bureau prior to 1940 that were used to train enumerators on their general duties and responsibilities, as well as the correct procedures for filling out the 1940 census.
1940 census playlist at the national Archives channel at YouTube.
The British Library is one year into its plan to digitize 40 million news pages from its vast 750 million collection, housed in Colindale, north London. According to their recent press release, this Fall, the library will reinvent its cavernous vaults as a website, where amateur genealogists and eager historians will be able to browse 19th-century newsprint from their home computer.”
Also recently announced by The British Library in conjunction with Google is their partnership to digitize 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the Library’s collections.
Once digitized, the collection will be available for full text search, download and reading through Google Books, as well as being searchable through the Library’s website and stored in within the Library’s digital archive.
The project will digitize a huge range of printed books, pamphlets and periodicals covering a large time span - 1700 to 1870. It will include material in a variety of major European languages, and they will be particularly focusing on books that are not yet freely available in digital form online.
Deceased Online website is sporting some new records: 313,000 records for Edinburgh’s Seafield Cemetery and Crematorium and for Warriston Crematorium. Also, by early August www.deceasedonline.com will have added another 1.25 million burial and cremation records from the north of Scotland to South Devon.
If more genealogy research blogs listed their sources with the data, we would all benefit from the shared research even more.”
GEM: Supporting this Free Podcast
GEM: Getting off Spooky Spokeo
In this gem I’m going to explain how to get off Spooky Spokeo
You remember earlier this year that I told you about a new website called Spokeo, a people search engine that organizes vast quantities of white-pages listings, social information, and other people-related data from a large variety of public sources. They say that their mission is to help people find and connect with others, more easily than ever. And that they certainly do. In fact I remember calling the site a bit spooky they way it so readily gave not only information but photos and all kinds of their data on people that you search. But of course, that makes it a go to site when it comes to finding long lost relatives.
Della wrote in about her experience with Spokeo and a few questions about online security. She writes:
“I do not want my name and all my personal information showing up on any site where someone has evidently gathered the information from the public domain and is offering it to the public either for free or for a charge…How do I opt out of my name even appearing on this site?”
It is no wonder that identity theft occurs and that the occurrence is rising.
Della is obviously concerned about her privacy and in this technological age, managing our online presence has become an issue that all of use should keep in mind.
In reality it’s not really that Spokeo is reaching into areas that were previously forbidden. Here in the U.S. we have always had public information. I think the real difference is that the Internet offers information vendors a hugely accelerated method for delivering that information. It used to have to be compiled in books and updated at a very slow pace. Or even more difficult you had to make a personal trip to the location where the information was held, and of course back in the day, few people would have ever bothered. But the information has always been available.
The one exception that comes to mind is Facebook, Google+, Twitter and other social media websites. These didn’t exist in the past, however, the only reason personal information, photos or what have you are there, is because WE put it there.
And putting info out there isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just that with that freedom comes responsibility to manage and protect it appropriately. Tweaking the security settings can make a huge difference in what’s available publicly. And the new Google+ seems to really have made that quite a bit easier. Facebook could learn a few lessons about making it easier for folks to manage their security. The features are there, but it can take a bit of digging to find them and change them.
But let’s get back to Spokeo. I 100% agree that if you don’t want all your data so easily searched on the site, there should be a way to manage that, and I’ve done a bit of research on this and you can.
To request that Public Information about You be removed from Spokeo.com people searches, you’ll need to use their “Remove A Listing” tool at http://www.spokeo.com/privacy. This page also contains information about sending written requests for removal. This process is only intended to remove information available through Spokeo.com and cannot remove the information from the third-party public sources, such as phone books, and government websites. And as I said, information is public from a wide range of sources and it’s computer databases and Internet search and delivery that makes it seem like there’s so much more than there used to be. In that respect Spokeo is the messenger.
Julie also wrote in about Spokeo to say
“Yes, that is spooky-o, because I found myself, address, and even a Google earth picture of where I live, and I'm a survivor of domestic violence still unable to escape my ex-husband after 30 years of divorce.”
And Julie’s concern is totally understandable! These types of sites are a double edged sword to be sure, and the emphasize the fact that information has always been public - it's just now they make finding it much easier.
TIP: If you have a camera with a GPS setting then your photos have geographic location tags attached to them. When you post those photos online, strangers will not only see your photo but they will also see exactly where you were at the time you took the photo. This is especially important to remember if you are posting photos you took at home on Facebook or other sites. Check your camera instruction manual for information on how to turn off that feature when it’s not needed, and you’ll have taken an important step toward taking responsibility for your online presence.
GEM: Interview with Genealogy Blogger Becky Jamison
GEM: Winthrop Cookbook
Mon, 4 July 2011
Published July 4, 2011
In this episode you'll pick up tips for family history writing success from John Paul Godges, the author of Oh, Beautiful, An American Family in the 20th Century.
Genealogy Gems Podcast LIVE! featured Allison Stacy, publisher of Family Tree Magazine and Handwriting Expert Paula Sassi
Click the “Like” button on the Genealogy Gems Facebook Fan page
Genealogy Gems Facebook Fan Heather Wilkinson Rojo’s letter dated May 11, 1887 written by her first cousin 4 times removed John Owen Dominis was featured. What a fascinating story that turned out to be. The Live podcast is coming soon!
Read the Family Curator blog where Denise Levenick did a nice write up of the Live Genealogy Gems Podcast.
Genea-musings Blog photos from Jamboree
Colorado Family History Expo
Bev wrote me after the Colorado conference to say...
“Thank you so much for your help in getting this up and running for me. I went to all of your classes on Saturday at the Colorado Expo and I learned so much from you and enjoyed your very upbeat and enthusiastic demeanor. I love your book on the Google Toolbox. I had no idea that Google had so much to offer. And you made it so simple to understand for someone who is somewhat knowledgeable about computers like me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't wait to see your next book.”
MidWest Family History Expo
In Overland Park Kansas July 29 & 30, 2011
San Mateo County Event Center
Oct 7 & 8, 2011
November 11 & 12, 2011
Family Tree Magazine’s Family Tree University is presenting their first ever Virtual Conference in August 19 – 21, 2011
We’re going to be focused on providing you with strategies and resources to boost your research—and because the conference is web-based, the good news is that you can participate from anywhere!
Use the promo code: VCS11
When you click this link and register you are helping support the free Genealogy Gems Podcast - THANK YOU!
New Television Programme: Find My Past on the UK's Yesterday Channel
UKTV has signed a deal with Brightsolid, the company that owns Find My Past and Genes Reunited, to launch a new 10-part one-hour series called Find My Past. Each week the show will use the findmypast.co.uk website to focus on a famous moment – such as Dunkirk or the Jack the Ripper attacks – to connect "three seemingly unrelated members of the public."
Generation Maps has a new name
Generation Maps becomes Family ChartMasters
The name Family ChartMasters also comes with a new concentrated tagline, Share•Honor•Inspire, expressing how a genealogist can use a genealogy chart to further their research. Users are encouraged to Share their research, Honor their ancestors, and Inspire their family members with their family’s heritage.
Genealogy Gems named one of the 101 Best Websites
New listener Barbara from Sydney Australia
“I just wanted to thank you for your genealogy gems pod cast. I discovered it recently and downloaded all the episodes so I can listen to them on my commute to work on the train. It is the best ½ hour, each way, of my day and this morning I had to drive to work and really missed listening to you! Only 2 weekends ago I had an email from a cousin in California I knew nothing about, and she was able to give me some clues that meant I was able to find my (I should say our) family in Ireland.
I think that making that connection has been the most fantastic thing about researching my family history so far. My mum always said we had family in the US, but I never knew who they were. Now I have a cousin there. How fantastic!
Thanks again for your pod cast, It’s really fun to listen to, and I thought you might like to know how far you have traveled.”
Carol wrote in to share her thoughts on Ancestry and other genealogists she’s attempted to contact for collaboration:
“Almost everyone I have contacted has chosen not to respond – either their email bounces or there’s just silence. This ‘silence’ is so prevalent in my genealogical inquiries (historical societies, message boards, surname websites, etc) that I have to wonder if genealogy is a collaborative sport at all.
Carol also shares her Ancestry wish list:
“Here’s what I want from Ancestry (besides better indexing):
- I want members to populate their public trees with accurate info (tall order, I know).
- If they’re using Ancestry as a whiteboard, then make it a private tree.
- I don’t want Ancestry deciding what’s correct info and what isn’t.
- And I would like the courtesy of a reply when I attempt to make contact or to correct wrong information.
Thanks, Lisa, for providing tips and techniques to the genealogical podcast community – keep up the good work!"
Marilyn also wrote in with a common question of folks new to family history about Ancestry and Family Tree Maker.
Just Do It
Roger emailed recently about how timely Episode 112 was:
“The Christmas gift was still given but how grateful we are for the precious moments we shared. You never know – do it while you have time. So, thanks again for another great podcast and for all you do.”
GEM: Interview with the author of Oh Beautiful! John Godges
John’s Three Point Process for Writing About Family History:
Outline: Start with a hypothesis providing a focused theme and starting point. Including and excluding info. John carefully selected his chapter titles because they are what guided him in his writing.
Talking: Having a talkative family is helpful, but even if your family is low-key, strive to help them feel comfortable to share.
Questions – Asking the write questions goes a long way to helping relatives open up. John emphasized 3 questions about “reflection”:
1) When in your life was it most difficult for you to be true to yourself?
2) Was there any particular group or role model that had a particularly important influence on your life?
3) When in your life did you most feel connected to something larger than yourself?
Read Oh Beautiful, An American Family in the 20th Century by John Paul Godges
(As you may have recently heard, Amazon has cancelled California resident affiliates, which unfortunately has affected Genealogy Gems. Thanks for your continued support of the free podcast through our other fine online shops like Barnes & Noble.)
Lisa on the Genealogy Guys Podcast
Check out the Genealogy Guys podcast and Drew Smith’s interview with me at Jamboree
Mon, 20 June 2011
Published June 20, 2011
Get ready to be inspired while you listen to kids embracing their family history at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree Kid's Camp lead by Charlotte Bocage.
In this episode you'll hear from the instructors, kids, parents and grandparents that all shared a very special day exploring the joy of genealogy.
Genealogy Gems Podcast App users can also check out Bonus Content: Genealogy Blogger Elyse Doerflinger of Elyse's Genealogy Blog shares with the kids her favorite place to go digging for records
Get the iPhone / iPad App
Get the Android App
Sat, 28 May 2011
Published May 28, 2011
This week we did a 90 minute presentation of Google Earth for Genealogy for RootsMagic and the response has been fantastic.
I’ve had so many emails from those of you who attended, and I can just read the excitement in your words.
After the Google Search Tips and Tricks webinar Penny wrote: "Loved your last webinar for RootsMagic. I had the reputation for being pretty sharp with Google searching, but you leave me in the dust."
And Eileen wrote: "Fantastic webinar! I can't wait to try it out!"
And after the Google Earth for Genealogy webinar Valerie wrote in saying : "Great show, learned a lot!!! Cant wait to get started with Google Earth!!! Ordered your 2 disks right after the webinar!!!"
Mary says "Your Google Earth webinar this evening was golden! Thank you for giving so much to the genealogy community."
Kim wrote: "GREAT Webinar....learned so much.....I'll never get any rest, tonight! Thanks Lisa!"
Click here to view recordings of the webinars
Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 69 features an interview with Richard Gray
Deceased Online.com just added 175,000 Northamptonshire burial and cremation records to their website and they should be available online by early July. The first data release comprises burial records for seven towns in the English East Midlands area of north/northeast Northamptonshire: Broughton, Burton Latimer, Cransley, Desborough, Pytchley, Rothwell and Rushden. In all, there are approximately 24,000 records in the first batch of data, dating back to 1888, the largest of which is Rushden. The data comprises register scans and grave details for all 24,000 burials. Photos of all memorials in Broughton, Cransley and Pytchley cemeteries are also included and there are some photos for memorials in other cemeteries.
The remaining 151,000 records are from Kettering's two cemeteries, London Rd and Rothwell Rd, and the town's Crematorium which serves a large area stretching across much of north Northamptonshire and into the neighbouring west Cambridgeshire and south Leicestershire. These are expected to be added to the Deceased Online database in early July so put it on your calendar to check back on the website then.
FamilySearch just Completee the 1930 Mexico Census and have announced it is Now Available Online for Free! These are part of a total of 59 collections that were updated in this release, comprising 25 million new images and records for 19 U.S. states and 16 countries. You can search all of these updated collections now for free at http://www.FamilySearch.org .
Updated Genealogy Gems App
The Genealogy Gems Podcast app has been updated and is now iPad compatible, in addition to other improvements.
The Genealogist’s google Toolbox at Lulu
Google has abandoned their master-plan to archive the world's newspapers
Google announced this month that they have notified their partners in their News Archive project that they would stop accepting, scanning, and indexing microfilm and other archival material from newspapers, and was instead focusing its energies on "newer projects that help the industry, such as Google One Pass, a platform that enables publishers to sell content and subscriptions directly from their own sites."
Thanksfully, Google did say in a press release email that it would continue to support the existing archives it has scanned and indexed. It added, "We do not, however, plan to introduce any further features or functionality to the digitized news product." So it’s not going away, it’s just not going to grow or be officially supported.
What we don’t know is whether Google will finish indexing the newspapers it has already scanned. I hope so, but many folks out there aren’t very optimistic about it...We may still see this content pop up in other places, and I will keep my eyes and ears open for that and let you know when I know more. Seems like a GREAT opportunity for sites like Ancestry or Genealogy bank to step in don’t you think?
As we approach the memorial day holiday, Brandt from Washington wrote in with a question about Military Records. He writes: "I recently found this Civil War pension application index record for one of my ancestors, Alexander B. Shute (and he sent me the card which you can see in the show notes). The index references two applications for pensions, one for an invalid, and one for his widow. Do you know how I could go about finding these applications? I'm very interested in seeing what they can tell me about Alexander. Thanks for the fantastic podcast, and keep the gems coming!"
Diana Chrisman Smith, an instructor for Family Tree University provides an answer:
"For Civil War veterans, the invalid file for the veteran and the widow's file are filed together at the National Archives (NARA) in Washington, DC. If there was a file for a minor child, it would also end up in the same file.
There is a project underway in partnership between NARA, Footnote and FamilySearch to index and digitize all of the Civil War widow's pension files --- however, at this time they are only about 2% complete. The index card for your Alexander Shute indicates that he did receive the requested invalid pension and his widow received her requested pension (there are both application and certificate numbers for both). These application files should indeed show you information about Alexander. However, this widow's pension file is not among those yet completed when I checked.
For those who ARE digitized in this project, the images of the complete file are available online at Footnote.com, by searching for the widow's name, the veteran's name, or the widow's certificate (WC) number.
For those who are NOT yet completed in this project, the next option is to request the file directly from the National Archives (NARA). This may be done in one of three ways:
1. Visit the National Archives in Washington, DC, where the originals are located and view the file, making whatever copies you wish personally - this is the least expensive option if it is in your "neighborhood," since you may be selective about which pages you may wish to copy.
2. Visit www.archives.gov and obtain Form NATF-85 to request the document copies by mail. The instructions indicate the price for the file (currently $75.00 fo the full file, up to 100 pages + $.65 for additional pages).
3. Complete and submit the form NATF-85 online (same prices apply, but service is faster).
As the digitization project progresses, more files will be available online, making access easier - for now, NARA is about the only game in town for most pension files.
Note that this information is for UNION veteran files. The access for Confederate files is different, and the subject for another day."
If you are interested in learning more about Military Records you can join one of Diana’s upcoming classes at Family Tree University:
Get $10 off any class with the coupon code FTUCOOKE.
Lisa’s classes at Family Tree University
Barbara writes in about how to find proof. She writes:
"I recently found a record for my gggrandmother at the St. John’s Almshouse. The age is only a couple years off. How can I verify that this record is indeed for her. Even on my other side, the cemetery stone of my ggreatmother has the wrong date of death. What alternatives do I have to prove this, other than hiring a professional genealogist?"
1) Do some searching in the FamilySearch wiki to see if you can find any articles that give you more insight into poorhouse records and the St. John's Almshouse records specifically.
2) Try contacting a reference librarian at a leading repository and posing a few specific questions to see if they can set you in the right direction. I would recommend the National Archives UK and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The latter you can contact by email. But strive to be specific with you question and provide a digital copy of the records involved if possible.
GEM: Roger Kershaw on Britains Home Children
Not long ago I got an email from Michelle who had asuggestion for a podcast gem. A segment on British Home Children. While I had heard that term before, I hadn’t come face to face with it in my own research. Michelle explained in her email that these children were orphans or impoverished youth who were shipped to Canada from Great Britain through philanthropic agencies between 1869 and the 1930's. Michelle said he has an uncle whose grandmother and some of her siblings were British Home Children and she would be interested in learning more about them.
In this episode you’ll hear an interview with Roger Kershaw who joined the National Archives in the UK in 1986 and is now the head of Military, Maritime, and Family records for the Advice and Records Knowledge Department.
Canada designated 2010 as the year of the British Home Child and the journal spotlighted the subject with an article in each edition. The Journal is very well done, and these articles are particularly excellent as they shed so much light on this important part of history.
Get in touch with the Alberta Genealogical Society at http://www.abgensoc.ca